During first year, I stayed in Bluebell, which is the most expensive accommodation on campus. As the year progressed and the ‘Which accommodation are you in?’ questions continued, I became embarrassed by my decision. The assumption was made several times that I was mega rich and went to private school, because I didn’t fit into the other stereotype for Bluebell of being international.
For first and second year, I have had the same set up. I use my maintenance loan to cover a large part of my rent and personal savings to cover the rest. My tuition fees are paid for by loan and my parents give me a monthly allowance for food and other necessities. In the holidays I work a part-time job at home to earn extra money for things like nights out and trips away.
But even if someone’s parents are paying for their tuition and maintenance, is that really anyone else’s business?
It was my decision, not my parents’, to use savings in addition to my loan, in order to be in nice accommodation. It was something that I wanted to do, but this is difficult to explain, especially in Freshers’ Week, when the supposition has already been made that you’re spoilt and that your parents are funding your entire university experience. But even if someone’s parents are paying for their tuition and maintenance, is that really anyone else’s business?
If I didn’t have both personal savings and my parents’ monthly support, it would be near impossible for me to just use my maintenance loan to live without a job, which could alter my university experience. I understand I am very fortunate to have financial support from my parents, but it is never something I asked for. If they were not willing to support me, I would use my strong work-ethic that I have in my part-time job at home to work at university too.
There is a huge amount of pressure on parents to support their children according to their wage, but this is not always possible…
Being supported by my parents does not mean I do not understand the value of money. How do you know that I’m not going to have to pay my parents back any maintenance money when I graduate? Perhaps this is something people should consider before judging others for choosing Bluebell as their accommodation.
There is a huge amount of pressure on parents to support their children according to their wage, but this is not always possible. Yet they are expected to fill the gap to make up the money not received in a maintenance loan.
Conversations about money as a student are uncomfortable no matter what your background…
Even if household income is high, not everyone is lucky enough to have financial support. This could be because of other familial circumstances, such as the number of children, or because they were discouraged from going to university, and so have to support themselves. While having three other siblings does not affect my situation, it could do for other people, so other sources of finances would be needed to be able to stay in Bluebell if that is where they would like to be.
Conversations about money as a student are uncomfortable no matter what your background. Next time you ask where someone is living, instead of commenting on their rent and jumping to conclusions based on stereotypes, why not ask them if they are enjoying where they stay?